What are the Steps Necessary to Administer a Decedent’s Estate?

What can happen if you make mistakes?


William F. Hoffmeyer gives a brief explanation of the law of Pennsylvania and the steps necessary to administering a decedent’s estate after he dies.

The law in Pennsylvania which governs the administration and distribution of a decedent’s estate is the probate estates and fiduciaries code, which is a somewhat complicated piece of law … and you have to have some familiarity with it in order to properly administer a decedent’s estate.

The decedent’s estate administration involves securing all of the assets of the decedent, contacting all of the banks, insurance companies and any other holders of assets and notifying them of the death of the decedent and getting the balances as of the date of the death of the decedent. And then preparing the Pennsylvania inheritance tax return, as well as the Pennsylvania income tax return and Federal income tax returns for the decedent. This will typically cover more than one year. After all that is accomplished and only after that is accomplished can the decedent’s assets be safely distributed to their heirs.

If you are acting as the executor or executrix of the decedent’s estate and you improperly handle your responsibilities you can be personally liable for any losses to that estate. This is one of the very best reasons why you need legal counsel in regard to handling a decedent’s estate.

Hoffmeyer & Semmelman, LLC has law offices in York, Mt. Wolf, and Shrewsbury PA. Our lawyers can help you with your estate law needs. Contact our office at 717-846-8846.